Day 6 is beginning with Stella refusing to eat her breakfast. She did this with her supper last night, too. She seems to be waiting for something, and I can’t for the life of me figure out what that “something” is.
Yesterday, Stella met one of our neighbors. She did not react to him at all. I was actually able to have a conversation with him, and Stella was fine. She couldn’t have cared less. Earlier on that exercise, a lady from across the street was there with her little dog, talking to him. Stella and I passed by on the opposite side of the street, the little dog went nuts………. and Stella didn’t care even one little bit. Instead, she stayed close to me without me having to coax her and she purposely looked away from him. She completely ignored him without any direction from me at all. And she didn’t react to the owner, either. I was so proud of Stella that I wanted to whoop, but I just gave her slow pets and a soft “good girl, Stella” as we moved away.
When the woman left, I brought Stella back to our neighbor. She was calm and relaxed, her tail was down but wagging, she was not tense at all, and her eyes were soft. I did not allow any physical contact; she’s not ready for that.
We did have an incident occur yesterday that rocked me to my very core. I took Stella out after supper to work her a bit more around strangers. The neighbor boys from across the street were out riding their skateboards and listening to their music. They’re good kids – polite, respectful, never cause anyone any trouble… I barely had Stella out of the gate and heading down to the sidewalk, when she suddenly went into a frenzy.
She saw the boys on their skateboards, and her ears went back, her back arched up, her tail went deep between her legs, and she pulled so hard on the leash to get back into the yard that she nearly yanked me off my feet. She was absolutely terrified. She was pushing desperately at the gate to get it open but she had hit it so hard that she closed it. I couldn’t get it open fast enough, and when I did, she bolted for the back. She pulled so hard that she almost separated my hand from my wrist. In the back yard, she sat in the snow for several minutes, refusing to move, shaking like a leaf in a wind storm.
I have never seen Stella in such a state of abject terror. It broke my heart. It took several minutes of coaxing before she would come with me to the door so I could get her back in the house. Once we were back inside and she was settled in the dog bed in the office, I sat down and cried for her. She doesn’t deserve to be so terrified of the world.
Today is a new day, with new challenges ahead. Today, Stella is going to be meeting a new person, working around Glimmer, working with food and Glimmer, and walking with Glimmer. We’ll be working outside, as Stella needs more distance between the new person and Glimmer than she can get in the house. Because, for the portion of the exercise involving Glimmer and food, Stella will not be muzzled.
Stay tuned for the results. Have a great day, and remember to stay calm and lead on.